5 Reasons why Equestrians don’t enjoy their horses and riding as much as they should

Happy Easter!

Spring has well and truly sprung, the days are getting warmer and longer and summer is just around the corner. The memory of the dark cold winter is starting to fade and horse ownership is becoming far more enjoyable again.

At this time of year many of us stop questioning why on earth we do it to ourselves. The mud, the cold, the early mornings and dark evenings. ALL THAT MONEY! The danger, the frustration. Of course we will argue it’s our passion, that feeling we get from a soft nuzzle, the exhilaration of a good long gallop on the beach or the pride at winning a rosette or getting a PB dressage score makes it all worth it. And of course it does! As do countless other special moments we share with our equine partners. I would never argue otherwise.

However, I do believe that most equestrians don’t get anywhere near the amount of enjoyment from their horses and their riding as they should do, and here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Confidence Issues

Pretty much every rider out there has dealt with a lack confidence at some point in their riding career. These issues can range from fear of getting it wrong, fear of falling or getting injured to crippling competition nerves.

Of course nerves are a good thing. Nerves prove we care. Riding can be a dangerous sport and it is important to be conscious of that and not behave recklessly. However it is a matter of scale.

Personally I have had periods of time where I have refused to canter in the school, not because I was afraid of falling but because I knew canter w

as our weakest gait and I didn’t want to “ruin” my schooling session.How on earth was I ever going to progress in dressage if I couldn’t allow my horse to canter and break contact?

I’ve gone through episodes where I’ve been afraid to jump a cross pole and days that my nerves and tension have literally ruined any chance we had at a competition!

Tackling rider confidence issues is a fundamental part of the Wise Owl Equitation Saddle Club offering. Members are provided with masterclasses delivered by rider confidence coaches and tools aimed at overcoming the most common confidence issues such as bespoke self-hypnosis recordings.

  1. Imposter Syndrome

Closely related to the above is Imposter Syndrome, This is the feeling of “I’m not good enough”. “I don’t belong here”. “My riding is letting my horse down”. It’s when we compare ourselves to others or feel judged. It’s also when we feel embarrassed to ask questions or for advice. It’s pulling up beside huge fancy Lorries full of thoroughbreds with our 2nd hand trailer and hairy cob, or scrolling through Social Media and feeling deflated.

I would confidently bet that most equestrians have also felt Imposter Syndrome at some point in their riding careers. Our minds and our rider mindset can either be our greatest asset or biggest downfall. It’s a choice we make every day without even realising it.

Through the Wise Owl Equitation Saddle Club riders are helped to take control of their mindsets & effectively deal with these thoughts and feelings when they occur.

  1. Time/Money Constraints

We adore our horses but let’s face facts they are certainly not cheap! For most of us we have to work exceptionally hard to keep our equine partners in the luxury to which they have accustomed to. This means that they have to fit in with the rest of our lives. Work, school, kids and other responsibilities often need to take priority.

It may mean that we often spend most of our “horse time” caring for them rather than riding them. It could mean that if we want to ride we need to be at the yard before dawn or after dark – best of luck finding a trainer to help at those times!

It could mean that we forgo lessons with a trainer we really want to work with as we just can’t justify the travel time for a 45 minute session. Or, it could mean that we sometimes resent our time at the yard as we are missing the kid’s bedtime again, or are just completely and utterly exhausted.

Our families may also have to sacrifice special treats because the funds required have had to be allocated to the “horse budget” or an unexpected vet bill. This can lead to feelings of guilt, resentment and exacerbate our Imposter Syndrome.

 

  1. Feel Stuck in a Rut

96% of riders wish they could do more with their horses and feel stuck in a rut with their training and performance. This may mean starting competing or moving up a level. It could be trying out new discipline or working with a new or different trainer.

For many of us we are very habitual in our riding routines. We use tried and tested schooling excersises, go to the same competition venues or cross country tracks, take the same routes on hacks. Rinse and repeat.

There is nothing wrong with this per se, however it can leave us sometimes stuck in a rut or unable to solve a specific problem we have with our horse. For me my horse tends to rush. She will rush into jumps or around courses. I have spent years trying to break this habit, and at times will see good improvement but fundamentally I always seem to revert back to the same issue.

Money and time constraints exasperate the issue, as does the lack of trainers in the local area or their availability at times I’m able to ride. Live video training solves this problem.

Through Wise Owl Equitation a rider can train with any trainer they want in any discipline, affordably and at a time that suits them. Riders in Australia can have 121 lessons with trainers based in the UK without having to leave their property.

  1. Lack of support

Let’s face it, the equestrian world can be a difficult one. Everyone has an opinion and they aren’t afraid to share it. People can be judgmental, and bullying within the equestrian community both on and offline occurs far more often than it should.

Riders often don’t feel comfortable sharing their goals, worries or challenges as a results of this. Sometimes equestrian groups leave riders feeling inadequate and deflated. Our individual goals can seem insignificant when compared to what others are doing especially on Social Media.

The Wise Owl Equitation Saddle Club offers a safe and supportive community where riders off ALL levels, disciplines and backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged. Support and accountability are at the core of this group. Whether your goal is simply to sit on your horse and walk down the drive or go round Badminton that goal will be respected, supported and celebrated when you achieve it within the group.

If you would like to learn more about setting riding goals. Or accessing the tools, resources, support and accountability to help you achieve them. Check out the Wise Owl Equitation Saddle Club below.

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